BASIS Charter in Tucson, a very rigorous school started by Soviet refugees, is America’s top public high school, according to Newsweek, which ranks based on the percentage of graduating seniors who take Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and/or Cambridge tests. An equity index shows what percentage of students take at least one advanced class.
Most of the top-ranked schools are magnets that draw gifted students. Charter high schools also were well represented: In addition to BASIS at number one, the charter list includes Preuss UCSD (6) in San Diego County, Pacific Collegiate (13) in Santa Cruz, Boston’s MATCH (25) and Raleigh Charter (27). Preuss and MATCH stand out because most of their students come from low-income black or Hispanic families.